By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated June 18, 1998 12:00 AM
Advertisement

George W. Bush, 54, spoke to the country for his first time as president-elect last night, five weeks after what is being called the muddiest national election in history. The United States Supreme Court, in a decision Tuesday night, halted the Florida recount of ballots. Hoping to unite all factions, Bush declared that the “nation must rise above a house divided,” and that “I was not elected to serve one party, but to serve a nation.” Bush spoke from the podium of the Texas House of Representatives in Austin, having been greeted with rousing applause when he entered the building’s rotunda. “Whether you voted for me or not,” he said in his speech, “I will do my best to serve your interests, and I will work to earn your respect.” So far, he doesn’t have everybody’s. “It’s a very sad occasion,” staunch democrat Barbra Streisand told Variety columnist Army Archerd about the outcome of the election, “and one that could set a terrible legal precedent. Al Gore isn’t the only loser. It’s democracy and the American people as well.”